First HTPC sometime in the near future. New AMD APUs?

Discussion in 'Home Theater PCs' started by Comdrpopnfresh, Jul 23, 2017.

  1. Comdrpopnfresh

    Comdrpopnfresh Golden Member

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    When will AMD come out with a new line of APUs with the CPU portion based on ryzen?

    I am beginning to plan my first HTPC a few months out, for playing and DVRing OTA TV, using PLEX to stream and organize digital media, etc. I just moved, and before buying an antenna I want to be sure my build can meet my needs,
    Right now, I have a 23" IPS Monitor I am making do with, but within the next year I am going to get a decently sized 4k OLED TV (. If the transition to ATSC 3 moves quicker, I may put off the TV purchase so I can get a model with the newer integrated tuner (I do not want an external tuner like was necessary for older TVs during the digital transition years ago).
    Can the integrated graphics in Intel chips readily decode 1080p and 4k content with hardware acceleration? For the price/watts/performance balance, is an existing AMD APU a better choice?

    The main goals of my build are the following:
    • Be able to effortlessly handle 1080p off the bat- no considerably additional heat output or power consumption
    • Provide EPG functionality (bonus points if this is by a native Win10 mobile App, or secure mobile interface for my Windows Mobile Device). I am just talking OTA here- I am not going the paid content and cablecard route.
    • Fully hardware accelerated 4k content- be it streamed, or DVR (after ATSC 3.0).
    • Ability to stream with pristine quality on LAN, and also provide remote access (I expect PLEX and my configuration is more involved than the PC Hardware here).
     
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  3. Kartajan

    Kartajan Golden Member

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  4. snoopy7548

    snoopy7548 Senior member

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    I can't speak to the new APUs or 4K content, but I have an A6-6400K in my HTPC w/ 8GB RAM (no discrete GPU) and it handles madVR just fine from 1080p to 480p; no dropped frames at all. I don't have all the fancy options maxed out, but I do have them more towards the mid-high/high end. I think I'm one or two ticks down from the highest settings. I use the Noctua NH-L9i low-profile cooler in my Node 304 and the CPU stays nice and cool - I haven't checked temps recently but I'm fairly certain the cores stay under 60C at max load. I debated between the A6-6400K and an i3/i5, but the AMD was much cheaper with as good or better performance than the Intel.

    I'd imagine the newer APUs should be able to handle 4K content without adding a discrete GPU, but I haven't really kept up with the progress on the latest chips.
     
  5. Malogeek

    Malogeek Golden Member

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    Yes, even a $150 NUC can decode 4k 10-bit HEVC, as long as it's Kaby Lake.
     
  6. LikeLinus

    LikeLinus Lifer

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    This. As long as you're not planning on running MadVR, a NUC is a great unit for this situation. I actually have two i5 NUCs running on TVs in my house. I then have a 4k HDR (using MadVR) specific computer for my theater room.
     
  7. Comdrpopnfresh

    Comdrpopnfresh Golden Member

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    Thanks for the replies! What sort of power consumption are you experiencing? I am not dense and expecting to build something affordable enough, powerful, and passively cooled. I do not want to skimp on performance and settle for scheduled DVR recordings being skipped, A/V being out of sync, or frames dropping if I am recording two things and replaying existing content. I also do not want to spend more on a HTPC than the TV/Display attached to it.
    So, my room for concession is in the cooling and emissions part of the equation. Below 35-40ish db during load (by this I mean driving 1080p or 4k output; not actively recording OTA Content without the system being used to view media) from a few feet away is probably fine. I like my home cool, so year round any system I build will be in a 20-22C ambient environment.
    I will probably wait to see what AMD has in store on the APU front, or save up for an unlocked Intel i5/i7 that is more than ample with the intent to (optimally) undervolt and overclock with very strict P-States/profiling or simply undervolting and allowing for higher than stock one/two core turbo frequencies.
     
  8. Malogeek

    Malogeek Golden Member

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    Passively cooled is going to limit your options immensely.
     
  9. bobhowell

    bobhowell Junior Member

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    Can I Make this unite and HDHR software work with my Roku 4 through my AVR without a HTPC.
     
  10. Malogeek

    Malogeek Golden Member

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    Roku apparently doesn't have the hardware to support broadcast TV.

    https://www.silicondust.com/support/faq/#can-i-use-hdhomerun-with-my-roku-box
     
  11. Kartajan

    Kartajan Golden Member

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    Malogeek likes this.
  12. snoopy7548

    snoopy7548 Senior member

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    Check out the Noctua NH-L9i I referenced in my post above if you need a low-profile heatsink/fan. I can't even hear the CPU fan when my HTPC is on.
     
  13. hoorah

    hoorah Senior member

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    I have an A6-3620 APU that handles 1080P with no issue, CPU usage barely rises above 20%.

    With 8-bit 4K h.265, I hit 100% CPU usage and the video stutters, so I'm looking to make a similar upgrade as you on my HTPCs.

    The Nvidia GT1030 (and up), maybe the AMD RX550, and kaby-lake intel CPUs are the only things right now that have native 10-bit h.265 decode support built in.

    Regarding OTA TV, if you want to use WMC and the built in guide (IMO the cleanest interface), you need windows 7, but windows 7 can't do 4K netflix if thats something that you want. If you go windows 10, you'll need to go a 3rd party OTA DVR software. I understand Silicon dust has one, but I have no experience with it. Its been on my list of things to investigate for about a year now and I just haven't gotten to it.

    Right now, I'm waiting to pull the trigger on an HTPC upgrade until I actually pull the trigger on a 4K TV, but I think a kaby-lake intel CPU with onboard GPU is the most efficient way there right now.
     
  14. hoorah

    hoorah Senior member

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    One more note - my media server is an i5-2300. It can play 8-bit 4k video with around 30-40% CPU usage, but if it has to transcode it on the fly it hits 100% cpu usage and falls a bit behind. It definitely can't transcode 4K 10 bit.

    Playback and transcoding are very different in resource requirements.
     
  15. Kartajan

    Kartajan Golden Member

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